Buzzer logo

TransLink news, commentary, and behind-the-scenes stories.

How you can help someone in distress on transit

How you can help someone in distress on transit

Customer speaking to a bus operator

If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, the Crisis Centre of BC provides immediate access to barrier-free, non-judgemental, confidential support and follow-up to youth, adults, and seniors. Call 1.800.784.2433, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also access Find a Helpline.

What can you do if you spot someone who may be experiencing distress while on transit or in the community? Here are some things you can do:

Recognize the signs and take action

The Crisis Centre of BC has resources on their website to help you understand and recognize the signs of suicide. The International Association for Suicide Prevention has a poster on how you can take time to reach out, along with links to resources such as #YouCanTalk, RUOK?, Take 5 to Save Lives, Be the One to Help Save a Life, and Know the Signs.

We’ve partnered with Operation Lifesaver, a public-rail safety initiative, to install “Today is better” campaign posters on the SkyTrain network.

Notify transit staff

Every bus and SeaBus has an on-board communication system that keeps operators in touch with our Transit Communications Centre (air traffic control but for buses) 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide support. SkyTrain Attendants have radios that connect them to the SkyTrain Control Centre where control operators monitor the automated system.

As a customer, you can reach SkyTrain Control Centre too. Speakerphones are located inside each car near the doors. On the platform, you can pickup the red emergency phone located inside the emergency cabinet, which also has a fire extinguisher and emergency train stop button. You can also use the passenger silent alarm onboard trains, which is a yellow strip above every window, to silently alert staff who will be on the scene as soon as possible.

Customer speaking to a bus operator

Text 87-77-77

Metro Vancouver Transit Police has a report-by-text (SMS) system where passengers can message Transit Police from a mobile phone in real time. Texts sent to 87-77-77 are received by dispatchers 24/7 and they can respond appropriately. Note: Standard message rates may apply.

You can also call 604.515.8300 when you want to contact Transit Police about any issue that doesn’t require an emergency response. Always call 911 in an emergency.

Customer using their phone onboard a bus